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Shoe Boil.......

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Yes, I have a horse who is barefoot yet has managed to develop a shoe boil. My new young horse Leggo developed a shoe boil on his left elbow when I put him in training in February with my trainer where he lives in a small box stall (he previously had been kept in paddocks or pastures). It's been drained twice by the vet but has come back. He now wears (and has been) two big shoe boil boots on both his front legs. The stall is bedded with pellet bedding but now we've recently started to add shavings to make it deeper to see if that helps at all. We were putting surpass on it but my trainer seemed to think that it may have been irritating it even more... Its pretty good size (but not that worst I've seen). It hasn't affected his movement or soundness at all. But only my mom would have a barefoot horse develop a shoe boil (she would bubble wrap her horses if she could).

Obviously the draining didn't help...so I'm wondering if there's any cures or remedies that help reduce shoe boils????

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Shoe boils can be caused by hard floors, thin bedding, frozen ground in turnout, etc. I never had any luck draining them, or capped hocks either.

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I have had the best luck putting a donut (shoe boil boot) on one and using DMSO w/Dexamethasone in it on the swelling. My Vet mixes up DMSO w/Dex in a dauber bottle -- about 5:1 DMSO. Sometimes he ads a little antibiotic to it like Gentomycin.

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My horse's shoe boil never went down all the way. It started out the size of a large grapefruit and is now (about a year later) just a small fatty-like sack. We had to drain it because it wasn't do anything on it's own. I did hot compresses 2x a day to help it drain and flushed it 1x a day with some sort of solution.

It's really only noticeable when he's clipped. (Ignore his slight ribbyness and dull freshly clipped coat)

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Edited by -half halt-

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I had a couple horses on the track who would develop shoe boils (had shoes tho) no matter how deep the bedding. We put rubber scalpers on them and that reduced the irritation.

Don't put DMSO on an open cut. It will burn for HOURS AND HOURS.

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I have had the best luck putting a donut (shoe boil boot) on one and using DMSO w/Dexamethasone in it on the swelling. My Vet mixes up DMSO w/Dex in a dauber bottle -- about 5:1 DMSO. Sometimes he ads a little antibiotic to it like Gentomycin.

Thats what I did. My mare gets them if she has shoes or not. The only way I was able to get them to stay away was leave her on deep bedding. Both sand and shavings have worked for me.

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This is very interesting. I've not had the occasion to see something like this before. I have seen bed sores in this area. Is it a bed sore gone bad?

When I think of bed sores, I think of a horse that has gone down a level in health, may be slightly underweight from some other problem and is lying down more than usual. Usually, its the point of hock that gets it first...it being the pivot point of departure from the ground when a horse stands up. I'm thinking that the elbow gets a good grinding into the ground when the horse extends his front legs to get up. Both of these places have to be the hardest places to wrap and protect. How do you keep these donuts in place? I'm imagining some kind of elbow bra? [ROTFL]

I've had a small success wrapping a hock loosely with a pillow wrap, with another pillow wrap and bandage on the cannon below it...funnel-like. The sore was open to the air, but the thickness of the padding offset the pivot point away from the sore.

The elbow, though, I can see it taking more of a beating from watching Hero these days. He's got the beginnings of bed sores on his elbows. I think lying down is not a comfortable thing for a horse....that he'd rather be ready to run away and lying down puts him at a disadvantage in that respect, mentally. He also brings himself upright and down a lot, trying to get comfortable, like rolling on his elbows. Then he puts his front feet out thinking about getting up, (elbows digging in) then his front hooves remind him of what he's going to be feeling when he does stand up, so he'll roll over on his side and buy more time. So there's a lot of restlessness going on with elbows grinding and digging and I'm thinking that it doesn't matter so much which side he's lying on at the time either. I'm also thinking that the elbows get it a lot more than the hock, yet the hock sore always appears first. [Question]

They appeared when he was too sore to walk, too thin to put up with outside weather. I had him on a full 12" of shavings. I found that with his mincing steps, he was banking the shavings up along the walls, leaving nothing for padding when he laid down....so much for that idea. But I'm thinking that its not so much the thickness of that bedding, but the abrasiveness of it and the shavings is very abrasive, plus the hardness of the floor. I did put straw on top of shavings with a similar situation years ago and that helped, but sure was a pain to clean the stall.

He has since improved and as luck would have it, its spring and the ground is soft. He's outside now and the advantages of it are like night and day. He immediately shed his mental depression and became a new horse. He's all over that field, working his new trim. He's running! His bed sores are healing. He's gaining weight. He's on his feet more, constantly moving forward. (when he came, and I put him on grass, his front feet would stay stationery, while he turned a circle with his hind quarters, then backed up a step and did another circle) I recently had to put him inside because the weather was really bad, and overnight, the bed sores popped up again. Soooo fast!

My motto is that the best way to treat a bed sore is to avoid it entirely....if you can.

Are the pellets roly poly and get shoved away?

One other thing that I noticed, was that he was lying down at a certain spot/corner, so I banked the shavings well on that corner to help insure that he didn't get cast. He seemed to gravitate to it more after that. I think the upright support made it more comfortable for him when he was down...kinda like taking the load off his lungs by propping himself up with a pillow....still doesn't help with the grinding, though I saw less squirming with discomfort.

Also, I put hay out for him in the same spot outside, so he can temper the grass input at his discretion. He's eating less and less of it every day, but he's going there to sleep on that pile of hay every time, regardless of the soft ground and the fact that he is blanketed. Hmmm.

Edited by missyclare

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A shoe boil is not a bed sore. It is a specific injury to the bursa of the elbow caused by a horse lying with its front legs folded under it where the edge of the shoe or the bare hoof (as many barefoot horses have them as shod horses) of the hoof on the bottom irritate the elbow of the leg on the top. A shoe boil boot can only be used in a stall, but it pads the offending hoof by being placed around the pastern.

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My former mare developed a shoe boil at an early age. It was drained several times, but over a few years got larger and wouldn't go down. I played detective and discovered that what she was doing was sliding on the wet wooden flooring with her front feet when she laid down at night and then tried to get up. She would bang her elbow on the hard floor and that's how the shoe boil developed. Back in those days, the stable owner used straw as bedding, which wasn't very absorbent. Rubber mats were just coming out. I solved her problem for several years with the mats, but when she was 19 yrs. old, she had to have surgery to remove the boil because it became a festering, constantly draining problem. After surgery, she never had a problem again as long as she was in a stall with the rubber mats. [Yay]

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I was going to suggest rubber matts for stalls, but see it already has been brought up

Rubber matts are well worth the expense and one does not need to bed that deep with shavings

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